Ferrari and its technical director James Allison officially parted company between the Hungarian and German Grands Prix. Allison – who lost his wife to meningitis earlier this year – wished to spend more time with his family in the UK and had been unable to agree a way of working at Ferrari that would have made this feasible. Furthermore, it’s understood that there was a fundamental disagreement with Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne about a defined timetable for progress from the Scuderia’s current position. Former engine department chief Mattia Binotto has been put in overall technical charge for now. Although Toro Rosso’s technical director James Key has been mentioned as a possible target for Ferrari, it’s believed he would not be in a position to accept any offer as he has already accepted an alternative.
The introduction of the halo cockpit protection device has been officially postponed for a year to 2018 following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group. Although the FIA was keen to progress it, Bernie Ecclestone was against. On the Friday of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend the drivers were summoned to an FIA presentation about the cockpit protection device by FIA safety consultant (and former Toro Rosso engineer) Laurent Miekes who had compiled an extensive report with simulation of how the device would have behaved in a series of recent accidents. It apparently made a major impression, at least two previously gung-ho drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz – changing their stance afterwards. Those remaining publicly against it included Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Those pressing for its introduction included GPDA chairman Alex Wurz, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Wurz commented: “This decision could almost be seen as ‘business first and safety second.’ Like all of us, obviously, I dearly hope that today’s decision is not one that one day we will all come to bitterly regret.”
McLaren’s Eric Boullier is being mentioned as a possible recruitment by Ferrari, suggesting that current team principal Maurizio Arrivabene’s position is less than secure. Boullier in turn is said to be less than delighted at the imminent arrival at McLaren of ex-VW rally boss Jost Capito.